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Anniversary day to pay tribute to Herald of Free Enterprise victims

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A service will be held today to honour the victims and survivors of the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster.

Exactly 25 years to the day after the tragedy - which saw 193 people lose their lives - family and friends will gather at 2.30pm.

The Townsend Thoresen ferry capsized on March 6, 1987, moments after leaving the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, killing 193 people.

Those who wish will be able to record their feelings on stars that will then be presented during the service. The messages will then be transcribed into a book of remembrance that will stay at St Mary’s for visitors to sign.

The Bishop of Dover, the Rt Rev Trevor Willmott, will preach and the mayor of Dover and other civic dignitaries will attend.

There will also be many people there to offer comfort and support to relatives, including Rev Ridley, who is the Vicar at St Mary’s.

Dover St Mary's church,Rev David Ridley holds up Stars against the Herald Window.
Dover St Mary's church,Rev David Ridley holds up Stars against the Herald Window.

St Mary's church Rev David Ridley holds up stars against the Herald Window

He said: "It’s about somehow putting things in a bigger context and trying to find meaning when our world is completely turned upside down.

"Putting something in the greater context of God’s world and something that’s more permanent and eternal does help us try and find meaning in something that’s difficult for us to get our heads around."

He added: "A long time has passed but you still have to try and help people move forward. Help people realise that there is something bigger and more meaningful than just day to day events."

There has been a memorial service held on the day of the tragedy for many years but the numbers attending have only increased.

Rev Ridley concluded: "Anniversaries are significant. It’s important for the people who bear scars as a result of what happened to have the opportunity to come together and remember.

"It’s also important to remember events like this so we learn as a community and as a nation from the mistakes we made in the past.

"These tragedies are still going on and we have to find ways to improve safety."

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